With soil and seeds Arahmaiani created a mandala: a concentric diagram that represents the universe and has spiritual and ritual significance for Buddhists. With this installation, the artist wants to remind us of our own relationship with nature.
In relation to the Golden Coach exhibition, Arahmaiani proposed to show this work to challenge our ways of seeing the past, present and future. Too often we tend to think in binary concepts like good or bad. Buddist worldviews challenge us to see things interconnected. The question 'how do we deal with the colonial past?' that is raised when we see the Golden Coach, is therefore not simple to be answered according to Arahmaiani. It requires a reflection on the self and the question what we do to really end the colonial power structures today? The mandala asks us to end exploitation in all our interactions with the world, to reach harmony. Including our exploitation of nature.
In performances led by the artist, the audience is invited to participate in the work and create mandalas themselves. Through this contemplative and meditative work Arahmaiani wants to evoke memories of the universe and how we all relate to one another
Since 2006, the flag project has been an ongoing series of performances and exhibitions that went around the world. In every edition, Arahmaiani engages with local communities to give space to collective creativity instead of creating work individually. Issues, concerns or things considered to be important float out of these interactions and are captured in words or short frases stitched onto a series of colourful flags. In a performance, Arahmaiani together with locals she worked with, waves the flags around in a parade. Allowing people to express their thoughts and let a wider audience engage.
For Flag Project Amsterdam, Arahmaiani chose four words from Asian languages and four from European languages, from communities she works with: Aqal (Intellect in Malay), Metok (Flower in Tibetan), Kuay Le (Happiness in Chinese), Rera (Earth in Ainu Japanese). Vrouw (Woman in Dutch), Love (English), Ame (Soul in French), Mut (Courage in German). In the autumn of 2021, Arahmaiani will perform a flag parade with Amsterdammers from different communities, to discuss the past, present and future of the royal carriage.
Arahmaiani (Bandung, Indonesia 1961) is one of the most respected contemporary artists in Southeast Asia. She has a versatile oeuvre and is internationally known for her performances. Arahmaiani addresses social and cultural issues around themes such as gender, religion, culture and environment. She often works with local communities.